How PVC Has Changed Over Time

You’re bound to bump into polyvinyl chloride PVC, whether you’re seated at home, working in the office, driving down the road, or relaxing on the field. Encountering something made-up of polyvinyl chloride is not unusual because plastic products are a “normal” part of our lives. As seasoned providers of polyvinyl chloride roofing materials, we know the history and trajectory of PVC compounds. In this article, we highlight fundamental changes in PVC history: 1. Large Scale Production – 1920s Friedrich Heinrich patented PVC in the early 1900s, although research, experiments, and discoveries around PVC and PVC compounds began centuries before Heinrich. By the mid-1920s, American inventor Waldo Semon improvised PVC compounds for commercial utility products. He molded heels, water tanks, and golf balls purely from PVC compounds. 2. PVC Incorporated into Textile – 1930s PVC found its way into many materials once manufacturers and inventors uncovered its potent cocktail. PVC entry into textile was first experimented with using products such as raincoats and shower curtains. These initial experiments equipped people for domestic maintenance, climatic patterns, and weather changes. 3. Vinyl Records – Mid-20th Century Vinyl records ushered in a period of musical creativity. In the mid-20th century, vinyl products proved flexible, desirable, and durable for many applications. This allowed music producers to play music using vinyl-made discs. Even today, there’s a collection of vinyl records to preserve this […]

Modified Bitumen (Mod-Bit) Roofing, Explained

Modified Bitumen (MB) roofing is an asphalt-based roofing system closely related to the Built-Up Roofing (BUR) design. This roofing material is suitable for buildings with low-scope or flat roofing. MB roofing originated in Europe in the mid-1960s and was adopted widely as a commercial roofing material across the US. Engineered MB roofing material is popular because it performs optimally in harsh conditions, including cold weather. Mod-bit roofing consolidates into typically three to five layers of roofing components, making it one of the most trusted and durable flat roofing systems. The elements making up the modified bitumen roofing system include: Insulation. This feature provides thermal resistance or the “R” value for temperature stability. It also provides a solid surface for the new roof system to be installed over.  Modified Base Sheets. Base sheets are critical foundations for flat roofs; cap sheets offer redundancy when other layers develop a support problem. This is the first ply installed. Modified Bitumen Mid Ply Sheets. These are factory-fabricated sheet membranes composed of co-polymers reinforced with fiberglass or polyester. These are typically installed on plys 2-4 Modified Cap Sheet. The top sheet that is typically installed with granules. This sheet provides weathering resistance or UV protection. This is the top ply installed, and what most people see what they look at a modified roof. What makes mod-bit roofing a suitable roofing […]

What You Need to Know About Flat Roof Designs

Flat roofs are among the most common and versatile types of roofs globally. While they are not the most glamorous and enchanting option, they have unique advantages. It’s important to note that flat roofs require special attention, care, and handling. Flat roofs differ from their contemporary counterparts in more than outward appearance. Costs, materials, and versatility benefits are distinct capabilities of flat roofs. So, if you’re a commercial building owner or a private real estate developer, you will most likely have to deal with flat roofs firsthand.Here’s what you need to know about flat roof designs: 1. Cost The cost of a flat roof system can vary dramatically. If you need to complete a full tear off, you also need to install code-compliant insulation, which can add dramatically to the cost. There are also big cost differences between the products available (TPO, EPDM, PVC) and how they are installed (Fastened, adhered, etc). Make sure you do your homework and know what you are getting before approving a proposal. 2. Maintenance On a flat roof system, maintenance is very important. Clogged roof drains and minor defects can create big problems down the road. It is very important to walk your roof at least once a year, clearing vegetation and checking for defects. An annual maintenance program can go a long way in making sure your roof […]

How Heat Welding Works On TPO/PVC Membrane

Single-ply roofing materials have become one of the most popular roofing for many reasons: flexibility, durability, lightweight, ease of installation, ease of maintenance, and energy efficiency. The single-ply roof membranes are classified as thermoplastic materials. One of the most important benefits of thermoplastic materials is the ability to heat weld seams together into permanent seams. So, let’s dive right in on how heat welding works on TPO/PVC membranes. In heat welding on TPO/PVC membrane, heat sealing joins thermoplastic films that typically range from 36 mills to 80 mills, depending on the membrane and manufacturer. On TPO/PVC roof systems, heat welding is completed using hot-air welding. This is typically done using a handheld tool or an automatic computerized machine.  The automatic computerized machine, which is commonly known as a “robot” or “dog”, is used on field seams and areas that are more wide open. This machine is larger, so it can’t fit in tight spaces, such as under rooftop units or around congested spaces.  The handheld welder is used on areas that are too small to fit the larger automatic welder, for example, on rooftop units, vent pipes, and congested spaces. They can also be used on “Start / Stop” locations, which is where the automatic welder begins and finishes its welding process. Key Factors of Heat Welding on TPO/PVC Membrane While solvent welding is a […]

Choosing The Longest Lasting Commercial Roofing For Harsh Winters

Winters are harsh on commercial roofing. All of that rain, sleet, snow, ice, and wind will do damage. Often business owners think their roof is strong until a night of wind and rain brings leaks and damp patches. The weight of heavy snowfall or a week of ice will cause its own problems. A harsh winter will expose weaknesses, often with devastating results. At Chaffee Roofing, we know the benefits of a long-lasting commercial roof. The type of roofing to come through the winter and withstand the toughest conditions is what you need. Let’s take a closer look at the best roofing for your building. TPO is one of the best roofing solutions for harsh winter problems. We supply EPDM, TPO, and PVC membrane roofing materials for commercial installs. All three products have their benefits, depending on the style of the roof. TPO is one of the best for harsh winters. It has many benefits, and for commercial roofs going through harsh winters, TPO covers all eventualities. Not shattering is one of the major benefits of any roof in a harsh winter. Instant, low temperatures can cause a roof to shatter, often overnight. This will not happen with TPO, and you can rest assured when the coldest nights come that your TPO roof will stay secure. Shrinking is another problem with cold and freezing conditions. […]

Heat – Welded PVC And TPO Seams Do Away With Seam Weaknesses

A flat roof is only as strong as its weakest seam. Many types of seams are not strong enough under pressure and will fail. Age, foul weather, and even poor application by badly trained roofing mechanics can cause a seam to open. Once the seam opens, the membrane separates, and the next rainfall will do the damage. At Chaffee Roofing, we know that properly installed heat-welded membranes fix the problem of seam weakness. Our years of experience tell us how both PVC and TPO give peace of mind when it comes to solid roofs.  Let’s take a closer look at how not to have roof seam weakness become an issue. It’s all in the welding Both PVC and TPO membrane seams are heated-welded together. The rolls of membrane slot into place and our highly-trained Chaffee Roofing technicians go into action. We use robotic welders on large, open plan roofing installations. The onboard computer automatically sets the correct temperature for the material. Hot air welding, using temperatures up to 800 degrees, seal together the seams of the membranes.  The computer also sets the correct pressure to apply and the most suitable speed when welding together the PVC seams. The bonding process creates the strongest seal possible in roofing systems. How about the tighter roof areas? While the robotic welder is ideal for the larger roof areas, […]

How The Loss Of Plasticizer Chemicals Affects Your Roof

Plasticizer chemicals are added to PVC roofing during manufacturing. PVC is a rigid roofing material, and without plasticizers, it would not be flexible. Unfortunately, over time, plasticizers can leak from the PVC roof.  Weathering, lack of maintenance, and low-quality materials are the usual suspects of plasticizer leakage.  In our previous post, we dealt with spotting the signs of plasticizer migration. Now we will deal with the loss of plasticizers and how it can affect your roof. We see many roofs suffering from the after-effects of losing the plasticizers, which keep it flexible.  Let’s take a closer look at how the loss of plasticizers affects your roof. Contraction causes the roof to lift at the edges Once the plasticizers start to leak from the PVC, you will see some very telltale signs of damage.  The material will contract and lift throughout the roof system. Any areas where there is a transition from vertical to horizontal, such as perimeter walls and rooftop units, pulling away from the wall will likely occur. This will also occur along the edge of the roof system, where the edge metal can pull back. If not fixed immediately, the roof will deteriorate very quickly. Shattering is a major issue Shattering is what you do not want to happen to your roof.  The roof material will lose its structure as the plasticizers leak […]

PVC Plasticizer Migration

PVC roof systems are often promoted as one of the best roof systems available. They have excellent UV resistance, hold up well against greases and oils, and have heat-welded seams. However, PVC also has a problem with cracking, shattering, and shrinking over time. This is a result of one major problem with PVC roof systems, which is plasticizer migration. Plasticizer migration occurs as a result of the PVC membrane formulation. Most PVC products, like PVC pipe, PVC trim, and PVC decking, are solid, rigid products. In order to make PVC a flexible membrane sheet, the formulation needs to be altered. As a result, plasticizers are injected into the formula so that the membrane is flexible, making it able to be installed similar to other single-ply roof systems. The problem is that with some PVC formulations, the plasticizer injected into the formula isn’t compatible. As a result, the plasticizer tries to separate from the PVC sheet, which causes the shrinking, shattering, and cracking that older PVC roof systems are known for. In some manufacturer’s older PVC roof systems, the membrane was not reinforced. As a result, the entire roof system would shatter like glass, creating a total roof system failure in seconds. Today, almost all PVC membranes are installed with a reinforcing fabric. As a result, the shattering is typically contained to smaller areas of the […]

Common Signs Of Plasticizer Migration

If you have a PVC roof system, you need to know the common signs of plasticizer migration.   A plasticizer is added to PVC during manufacturing to make the polymer flexible. Without the plasticizer, the PVC would be a solid material and impossible to work into place. When the plasticizer leaks from a PVC roof, it will cause cracks, splits, and welded sections to break apart. Combining plasticizer migration with foul weather means disaster for your roof. Early spotting of the common signs of plasticizer migration helps protect your roof. Let’s take a look at some of the telltale indicators. Lifting at the edges is a bad sign Take a look at your PVC roof.  If you can see the roofing material lifting in places, especially at the edges, then you have a problem. The plasticizer, which makes PVC a flexible membrane, will react with residue from an older installation, causing it to leak. The migration weakens the bond causing it to crack or split and causes the PVC to lift around the edges. Regular inspections will help you spot this problem before it causes trouble. Check for brittleness Brittleness is another offshoot of plasticizer migration, which causes significant damage. When the plasticizer leaks from the PVC, the material becomes brittle in places. Get up on your roof, or call your roofing contractor, and inspect for […]

Roof Proposals – What to Keep an Eye Out For

Making sense of roofing proposals from different contractors offering varying solutions can be very daunting. Just understanding the myriad of solutions can be difficult enough without adding in products, terminology, etc. What makes it extraordinarily difficult, in my opinion, is when proposals are vague. In flat commercial roofing, there are a few key points to keep an eye out for in a quality proposal. They are: Tear Off or Go Over: If there are two or more roofs, or if the underlying insulation is wet, a tear off is generally required. If one roof is in place and only a few areas are wet, then the wet areas can be replaced on a limited basis. However, in flat commercial roofing, there is a big cost difference between removing the existing roof system and going over it. Therefore, it is very important to know what solution your contractor is proposing. Insulation Thickness and “R” value: Typically, in a go-over application, a minimum of 1” polyisocyanurate insulation or ½” HD polyisocyanurate insulation is used as a separation between the old roof system and the new roof system. However, if a full tear off is being completed, building code typically requires that the insulation be brought back to code. In 2020, this could mean installing 4.5” to 5.2” of insulation, depending on what building code calls for in […]